Yes!Weekly on the GPD

Wedging themselves between the N&R/Mitch Johnson-hater crowd and the Rhino/Bledsoe-can-do-no-wrong crowd, Yes!Weekly files a remarkable piece on the GPD saga.  Authored by Jordan Green, “The struggle for the soul of the Greensboro Police Department” tells us that this thing is not quite over.  But we are getting close.

Green gives some middle-ground perspective not only regarding the actions of embattled police lieutenant James Hinson, but also on former chief David Wray.  I think that when all is said and done, such middle ground is exactly where we will end up:  Wray, nor Mitch Johnson, nor Hinson, nor any of the other major players implicated in this saga will turn out to proven all good and infallable.  But they aren’t saints either.  They are human.

To me, the most under-reported perspective on this whole mess is that of our elected leaders, especially Mayor Holliday.  While I understand and appreciate the let-it-run-its-course posturing from our city council that has occured to date, Green extracted some important and – at least to me – reassuring quotes from our mayor about how this whole thing will likely shake out…

A lot of trust is going to be hurt that is going to need to be restored,” he says. “You are going to see all the dirty details, but what you are not going to get is the personnel information. You’ll get the details about what went down and what was done to fix it. …You got nine lay people who are very privy to all the dirty details because that’s what we’re supposed to do. We are the go-betweens for the citizens and the bureaucracy. In our system these representatives get these details. I am not about to let it out. If you don’t trust us then you can elect new leaders.”

Regarding the racial aspects of the Wray saga, Holliday says this about that…

There is absolutely no way that this is a black-white issue,” he says. “At the beginning it might have looked that way with the Hinson investigation and the black book. When we started peeling the onion back, it had nothing to do with race. It has to do with pure administrative policies that you would not like to see, whether it’s a bank, government or newspaper. You’re gonna say, ‘How could this happen?

As I’ve said before, you gotta trust someone in such trying times.  I’ve chosen to place my trust in our very resilient police department and those we have elected to represent us.

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  1. Posted November 26, 2006 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    I think Holliday is being fairly disingenuous when he denies the racial angle in this matter– in the same way that Johnson was being disingenuous when he denied that he thought Wray was a racist.

    The City Attorney’s report, upon which they relied to a significant extent, stacks a fairly significant racial case. This is undeniable.

    The situation exploded into the public consciousness, with media coverage, over racial allegations. The RMA report and the City Attorney’s report would not have been prepared in the absence of racial allegations.

    And of course, according to the current dissembling, Wray is not a racist. Apparently, he and his subordinates carrying out his policies merely did racist things, and discriminated against black police officers, but Wray himself was not racist. At least that is what we are to believe.

    Here is the modus operandi: We make a strong racial case even if it places the city at risk of significant litigation, then push Wray out of office, then later minimize the racial angle, and then hang our hat on policy and procedure. It is wonderful, isn’t it?

    By the way, I recall that YesWeekly ran a story nearly a year ago making the case that Wray and his subordinates involved in these matters represent a continuation of the legacy of the white officers responsible for the 1979 events that attracted the attention of the TRC. It was probably the single worst piece of journalism I had seen on this entire matter.

  2. Posted November 26, 2006 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    “The RMA report and the City Attorney’s report would not have been prepared in the absence of racial allegations.”

    According to Johnson, people from the department who initially came forward with complaints and concerns of Wray’s administration were not all black.

    Surely Jerry B. corroberated Johnson’s assertion on this little detail in some previous chapter, didn’t he?

    Agreed on Yes!Weekly’s T&R/GPD article from a year ago. But what is your overall take on Greens piece this week?

  3. Posted November 26, 2006 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    I think Green’s current piece is more balanced than that piece drawing linkage between Wray and 1979. The overall feel I get is of a mild apologia for Johnson and Holliday. He does allow, however, some diverging viewpoints.

    Sure, I understand that some non-minority officers complained about Wray. I just doubt that things would have escalated to the point they did if race was not the primary consideration, with all the associated political implications. The racial allegations were needed to push him out, and then after he was gone, there was a need to walk gently away from the racial allegations.

  4. Wendell Sawyer
    Posted November 26, 2006 at 11:24 pm | Permalink


    The contrast in the opinions about David Wray from city officials then and now are interesting to say the least.


    From the Associated Press; January 11, 2006:

    Mitch Johnson: “If I was a black officer, I would certainly feel targeted…”

    WFMY News2; 1/27/2006:

    “City Manager Mitchell Johnson claims the special intelligence division used the book to conduct bogus investigations of black officers.�


    YesWeekly, November 21, 2006:

    Keith Holliday: “There is absolutely no way that this is a black-white issue,� he says. “At the beginning it might have looked that way with the Hinson investigation and the black book. When we started peeling the onion back, it had nothing to do with race…�

    David, I’ve known Keith Holliday since we were at old Lindley Junior High School back in the 1960s. Keith is a decent, honest guy; there’s not a trace of deception in his body. I just hope that Keith can keep an open mind about this controversy until all of us can mull over the facts that Jerry Bledsoe may provide us with in the remaining installments of his series.